Future imperfect 

The year 2005 began like many other Atlanta nights: frustrating, daunting and damn near trapped in a car. Lodged for nearly an hour in an ill-conceived traffic loop circumventing Underground Atlanta, the countdown toward midnight inched ever closer, even as the cars didn't. After giving up on being able to approach the touted $3 secure parking, we paid $10 at a nearby lot and tumbled from the car. We rushed from the parking deck to the packed streets and arrived just in time for the peach to drop.

All of this had me wondering, what is it that people search for on New Year's Eve? Is it to end or begin with a bang? Is it start fresh or start merely refreshed? Is it to want to get the fuck out of a crowd and down three glasses of champagne as quickly as possible? No disrespect to the deep thoughts, but we went with the 'pagne.

Standing in the V.I.P. loft overlooking Underground's central artery, Kenny's Alley, we worked on working up the courage to brave the congested throng. It was me and the "girls," aka my friend Heather's tits. Out for one of her rare nights to "act her age" (which on a better night would mean 26 minus 7), she had the luscious ladies and her fabu sternum tattoo on proud display. Actually, from this point on, I'm just going to refer and defer to "Heather's tits," because that's who guys have the conversation with, anyway.

So me and Heather's tits stood looking out onto Underground. We were there under the auspices of checking out each and every one of the six new clubs celebrating their opening weekend. And this is where the 'pagne met the pain.

After gulping down our liquid courage, neither one of us were looking forward to rubbing up against the teeming masses left in the wake of the Peach Drop. But with new glasses in hand, we decided we had to at least try to revel in the Underground's open container law. We marched down into the depths, and here's where we learned the night's buzzword: bottleneck. And we ain't just talking beer.

With great effort, we weaved our way to the Kenny's Alley corner and made it to the line in front of the Alley Cat club, where we stood for 20 minutes not moving. We were teased by a bright neon "Open" sign and images of women wearing cat ears -- Kenny's kitties, perhaps -- morosely serving beer. Every minute or so, the sound of shattered glass would abruptly slice through the din of the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd, heightening our anxiety. Finally, we couldn't wait any longer, so we left the line and began to worm our way to the other end of the Alley.

We made it to the Peach Drop stage, where I was rudely grabbed by a belligerent drunk girl who looked no more than 19. She asked for directions to MARTA, and when I couldn't tell her, she spit "asshole" at me, and pulled her train of friends concussively through the crowd. This is how I was introduced to 2005: shattered glass, drunken ravings, and repeated shoves. So much for good will toward men.

We left that area and headed toward dance club the Future. Heather's tits and I found yet another long, poorly delineated line. Unfortunately, no wristbands had been required to enter the Peach Drop, so each club was desperately trying to card at the door. I'm not going to make any jokes about tsunamis at this point, but the tide of people was overwhelmingly high in every section of Underground. This time we weren't taking no for an answer, however, so we talked our way past security into the Future, one of several clubs opened by the team behind the Masquerade.

The place is called "the Future," but really, it's nothing more than a blast from the past. Presented as a club to fill the gap left by the closing of the Chamber, the Future -- with an open bar/dancefloor area topped with a balcony -- had the feel of a faux theater scrawled with swirling metallic murals. The whole scene had a titillating yet acceptable "alternative lifestyle" veneer. It's a place seemingly created solely for having an excuse to wear that PVC Mandarin-collared dress you were keeping oiled up for a special occasion. Several Chamber regulars circulated, while dancers sporting nests of bulbous, multihued dreads writhed to your typical pumping set of industrial/EBM music.

By the time we finished casing the Future, it was after 2 a.m., and we just couldn't face throwing 'bows to get into another club. Plus, Heather's tits said her balls were starting to hurt. She meant the balls of her feet, but it was funny, nonetheless.

After Underground, we briefly stopped by Beneath the Noise's party at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. We wandered through the hip-hop room, took a moment to honor our boy Lil Jon (after all, 2004 was his year -- skeet, skeet) by getting low, with splintered plastic champagne flutes crunching beneath our feet. Now my balls were starting to hurt.

Next week we'll revisit Underground, and report back on the other venues and what a typical weekend could be like. Here's to hopefully keeping it more live in the '05.Keep one RedEye open. And send all comments, questions, observations and invitations to redeye@creativeloafing.com.

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